The prevalence of autism in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births. This upward trend in diagnosis in the US means that the number of adults with ASD is expected to top 3 million by 2020. Of those adults with ASD, 90 percent are unemployed or underemployed and 70% will be unable to live independently – and there is a strong link between joblessness and depression, putting these adults at a high-risk of suicide and other depression-related concerns.

The rise in autism will clearly have a major impact at all levels of society. For example, recent studies have estimated a lifetime cost of $1.4M-$2.4M per person, spent on therapies, medications, and other assistance.

Most importantly, almost half of those diagnosed with ASD are of average or above-average intellectual ability. There is evidence that job-focused training and support services, especially in the transition to adulthood, can make a huge difference, leading to higher levels of employment, more independence, and better quality of life.

There are over 9,000 children in Oregon receiving special education services for autism spectrum disorder.

For more information about autism, visit these websites: Autism Society of Oregon and FACT Oregon.